El McMeen: The Lea Rig

El McMeen - modern acoustic guitar master.
El McMeen - modern acoustic guitar master.

El McMeen is a modern acoustic guitar master. He plays a broad range of music on solo acoustic steel string guitar. He is well known for his Celtic stylings, but his recordings attest to his broad ranging musical abilities.

2001 - The Lea Rig

In 2001 El sent me a copy of his CD "The Lea Rig". The tracks on "The Lea Rig" range from the 1700's through to numbers ripped straight from today's charts!

El coaxes warm and expressive tones from his guitar which is apparently tuned C G D G A D ..... lots of 5ths in there! I expected a lot of droning modal numbers, but not so!

El McMeen's 2001 acoustic guitar CD - 'The Lea Rig'
El McMeen's 2001 acoustic guitar CD - 'The Lea Rig'

El gets accompaniment, bass and melodic textures from the instrument to a degree equal to the best of the 'regular' tuning stylists. A moment's reflection led me to realise - and why not? The string family - violin, cello, viola - are tuned in 5ths and that's never held them back! (Violin is G D A E).


  • Carolan’s Concerto
  • The Shearing’s Not for
  • Sad Eyes (Springsteen)
  • West Virginia Moon (Black/Moss)
  • Here Comes the Sun (G. Harrison) - Classic Beatles tune
  • The Mist-Covered Mountains of Home
  • Stop, in the Name of Love (Holland, Dozier & Holland) - Rock guitar alert ! - This track is a great example of how to play a rock ballad - yes, El takes the tempo back to ballad. Check this out for a role model of how to play a convincing rock ballad on solo acoustic guitar.
  • Bridget Cruise, 3d Air
  • Carolan’s Receipt/Morgan Magan
  • High Ground
  • The Lea Rig
  • Mo Giolla Mear
  • George Brabazon, 2nd Air
  • Medicine Bow
  • Ashokan Farewell
  • Let All Mortal Flesh Keep Silence
  • Highly recommended as a role model of musical and tasteful acoustic guitar stylings. Well arranged and musically performed. This album stays on my jukebox!

Chords in 5th tuning

www.elmcmeen.com/Chords.html shows the common chords voiced in C G D G A D tuning, and looking at the chart you can see that the voicings are all playable.

Master guitarist El McMeen in concert
Master guitarist El McMeen in concert.